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Challenges with manual vulnerability assessments and manual penetration testing

February 7, 2022

The biggest challenge with manual vulnerability assessments and penetration testing is that it’s slow, expensive, and doesn’t scale with modern CI/CD strategies. It can take weeks or even months to find and exploit all the vulnerabilities in a system. And it’s challenging for security teams to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of security threats.

The first challenge is about the pentesting coverage. Security pentesters can only test what they know and see. They need to be aware of all the potential vulnerabilities in order to exploit them. But with new security threats emerging every day, it’s impossible for pentesters to know everything.

The second challenge is about the accuracy of the findings in pentesting results. Usually, there are lots of false positives and true negatives in the findings of pentesters. This is because pentesters can only test the reachable attack surface that they see and know. It’s impossible for them to exploit every possible vulnerable endpoint in a system. And it’s also difficult for pentesters to understand how an application works in its code level, so it’s easy for them to have lots of false positives or true negatives in their findings.

The next challenge for manual pentesting is triage validation of the results. Security teams need to verify all the findings and prioritize which ones are critical so they can be fixed. This is a very time-consuming process that takes lots of effort from security professionals. And it’s difficult for them to prioritize based on their knowledge and experience.

The last challenge with manual pentesting which we want to talk about here is CI/CD integration. It is not possible to integrate pentesing to application developers pipeline and create an automated system out of that. Pentesters need to manually review and validate the findings from their pentesting results which is not possible to automate.

These are the top six challenges with manual vulnerability assessments and penetration testing. We hope you enjoyed this post!